Experts to Convene in Atlanta for Georgia Tech Energy and Technology Summit

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

Researchers, academics, and industry executives will convene in Atlanta to "power up" the conversation about the future of energy and technology, specifically how these two industries are connected to and affected by current innovation. These discussions are the focus of Intersect: Energy in an Information Age - a high-level, invitation-only summit - presented by the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Strategic Energy Institute on April 18th and 19th. In addition to energy and technology, attendees of the event will take a close look at energy policy, grid security, and examine methods to expand industry innovation. 

Energy is arguably the single most important issue of our modern times. Few sectors have a greater direct impact on our economy or every aspect of life; from household comforts and conveniences to transportation, manufacturing, and communications, it is omnipresent. Networked, digital systems that are connected to the traditional, physical energy infrastructure are growing exponentially. The overlap between these systems and computing, big data, and physical infrastructure is creating a need for new resources, particularly in regards to the safety and security of operational structures and personal consumer information.   

“Numerous big data opportunities and challenges exist in the energy sector," said Tim Lieuwen, executive director of the Strategic Energy Institute (SEI)." Although significant developments are being realized at the intersection of physical and digital worlds that improve reliability, lower costs, and increase security, there is mounting concern for data security. Just last week, a cyber attack on a data-network for gas-pipeline operators and their customers temporarily shut down computer communications. Gatherings such as the Intersect conference provide a vital opportunity to develop potential solutions that will continue to drive innovation without sacrificing social welfare or consumer privacy.” 

The worldwide demand for power to support social and technological innovation is rapidly rising. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that growing economies and an increasing world population will drive energy demand more than 50 percent by 2035.  At the same time, the energy sector is undergoing one of its greatest transformations in history, with dramatic growth in high-efficiency, low-cost, clean technologies enabling the Southeast to quietly emerge as a leader in terms of implementing these reliable, affordable energy technologies. Georgia, for instance, is the 8th largest producer of solar energy in the U.S.  and is among the top three in solar installations, giving rise to the need for equitable regulation. 

“The Southeast has a unique opportunity to develop policies and guidelines that will impact the entire nation,” said Lieuwen. “The Intersect conference brings experts in policy making, business development, and renewable energy together in one location to contribute their knowledge, skills, and insight to future policy creation that supports the entire energy industry while guiding new technology into the market.”  

Technology thrives in Atlanta, a top location for innovative businesses including a number of startups based in or related to energy.  A key element of Intersect that highlights these companies is an Innovation Trek, a tour of business incubators based in Technology Square, that will illustrate how innovative thinking is driving change across multiple platforms and industries, including energy.  Several of those startups began at Georgia Tech, including the Advanced Technology Development Center, which assists entrepreneurs in launching successful companies. 

More than 200 are expected to attend the Intersect conference to hear presentations from leaders from utilities, research labs, and nongovernmental organizations including Microsoft, Nissan Motors, the Electric Power Research Institute, the World Resources Institute and more. Co-sponsors of the event are General Electric, ScottMadden, Inc. Management Consultants, and Southern Company.  To see a complete schedule and presenters visit the Intersect website at